The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures. This article was published more than 10 years ago. Some information in it may no longer be current. There is hardly any construct more immutable in scientific discourse than the notion of "the maternal instinct. Designed by nature for the task of rearing offspring, women are "naturally" tender, selfless and compassionate where their progeny are concerned.
|Published (Last):||26 May 2010|
|PDF File Size:||10.38 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||4.60 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Maternal instinct--the all-consuming, utterly selfless love that mothers lavish on their children--has long been assumed to be an innate, indeed defining element of a woman's nature.
But is it? In this provocative, groundbreaking book, renowned anthropologist and mother Sarah Blaffer Hrdy shares a radical new vision of motherhood and its crucial role in human evolution.
H Maternal instinct--the all-consuming, utterly selfless love that mothers lavish on their children--has long been assumed to be an innate, indeed defining element of a woman's nature. Hrdy strips away stereotypes and gender-biased myths to demonstrate that traditional views of maternal behavior are essentially wishful thinking codified as objective observation.
As Hrdy argues, far from being "selfless," successful primate mothers have always combined nurturing with ambition, mother love with sexual love, ambivalence with devotion. In fact all mothers, in the struggle to guarantee both their own survival and that of their offspring, deal nimbly with competing demands and conflicting strategies. In her nuanced, stunningly original interpretation of the relationships between mothers and fathers, mothers and babies, and mothers and their social groups, Hrdy offers not only a revolutionary new meaning to motherhood but an important new understanding of human evolution.
Written with grace and clarity, suffused with the wisdom of a long and distinguished career, Mother Nature is a profound contribution to our understanding of who we are as a species--and why we have become this way.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published September 5th by Ballantine Books first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Mother Nature , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details.
More filters. Sort order. Jan 24, Meg rated it really liked it Shelves: parenting , health , feminism-gender. A feminist Darwinian! Bring it on. If you want to know about the biology of motherhood, this is the book for you. True, it's kind of long and full of scientific and anthropological detail. But it's also well written, interesting, and even funny.
I really appreciated that the author is committed to understanding what it means to be a mother and, to a lesser extent, any parent without getting sentimental or making assumptions. At times, she shares her own anecdotes of being a mother including b A feminist Darwinian! At times, she shares her own anecdotes of being a mother including being a working mother to illustrate her points.
I didn't understand everything in this book, and I didn't agree with everything either. I'm still skeptical about evolutionary psychology, and find the near-exclusive focus on natural selection to be somewhat reductionist Hrdy doesn't discount the impacts of culture and temperament, but doesn't spend much time on them. I either don't understand or don't agree with the whole "environment of evolutionary adaptedness" concept. Also, there were a few times when I thought she contradicted herself but frankly I didn't really have the energy to track down the conflicting statements in such a long book.
I thought some of her forays into developmental psychology were skewed toward Bowlby and attachment theory, sometimes at the expense of other important concepts. A few of the things I learned about in this book though there are many more : - Mothers have always been willing to delegate care to "alloparents" other caregivers , as long as safe care is available.
In some environments, safe care was not likely to be available, so mothers and infants have had longer-term exclusive bonds. OK, I didn't learn that from this book I learned it from my infants.
Mar 07, Lynne Williamson rated it it was amazing. All human animals should read this book about real not Victorianized maternal nature.
Looking realistically at "mother nature:" For a human mother, the survival goal includes an evolved capability for weighing the odds for survival of her current children when faced with a competing newborn. Will she have enough resources to feed and protect the children she has as well as for the newborn given the environmental circumstances - circumstances which include the whole cultural milieu as well as he All human animals should read this book about real not Victorianized maternal nature.
Will she have enough resources to feed and protect the children she has as well as for the newborn given the environmental circumstances - circumstances which include the whole cultural milieu as well as her individual situation. For me the key liberating insight from the book is that "mother nature" is definitely not the sentimentalized saccharine Victorian idea of the wholly dare I say "holy" , ever-subservient "angel in the house" mothering on mindlessly - with a smile.
In fact, "mother nature" in Hrdy's book is the evolved ability to calculate and act on the best choices for survival of our children. As Hrdy says, to be pro-life, one has to be pro-choice. There are no guarantees in this business. The mothering "instinct" is not unconditional and the infant's and child's sense of security is not assured. Hrdy strips the parent-child relationship of much of its romance, and she argues that this is why there's been extensive abuse, abandonment foundling homes , and infanticide post-birth version of late-stage abortion, used before abortion became a safer practice.
Hrdy, in short, challenges the reader to look at parenting from the perspective of evolutionary theory that makes "love" conditional, calculating and colder. There are, however, a couple of issues with her presentation. Hrdy does not describe how her perspective is consistent with her endorsement of kin selection which is a central tenant of sociobiological theory. Much of Hrdy's book is about "allomothers," a community of support that behaves "as if kin. We know of course that non-kin allomothers her term extend their love, care, concern and interest to babies even when non-related.
Why is that the case if they are not kin? For that matter, why did the gooslings follow Lorenz even though he was obviously not kin? Hrdy skims over these as if they are not issues. In addition to her numerous "as if kin" references, she writes about the importance of being part of a "community," but then adds without a blink that such a community is "a group of kin" without accounting for the fact that most communities today are not at all kin related.
Could it be that kin selection cannot explain other-regarding, altruistic tendencies beyond the parent-child relationship? Could it be that other-giving tendencies are based on the individual's need to be part of a group for survival purposes and that genetic tendencies push the individual to the group and vice versa? Could it be that infants and children need to bond imprint with a caregiver, and for caregivers to do the same for dependent infants and children because that's how the group and individuals within the group were able to survive?
Another potential issue with Hrdy's presentation is the implicit assumption of her "parental investment theory" that maternal instinct expression depends on environmental circumstances. Hrdy says there's no pure genotype because genotypes always get expressed within a context.
In other words, the environment modifies the genotype and this always results in a phenotypic expression. Within that framework, Hrdy states that, "I assume that mothers in the past were emotionally similar to me. But they made their decisions under different, vastly more arduous, circumstances. How does that match up with the genetic variation within species that is the guts of Darwinian theory?
How does it match up with Hrdy's various references to different, innate temperaments? Hrdy talks about differences in phenotypic expression among identical twins, but there are ample studies about how genotypic expression is remarkably the same among identical twins regardless of the environment.
Could it be that some women and men for that matter have more of a nurturing, maternal instinct than others because of basic innate differences that are more or less independent of the environment? As a final comment, Hrdy refers to the Harlow studies infant deprivation of love objects without condemnation or, at least, acknowledgement of the problematic aspects of that scientific type of approach from a maternal or paternal point of view.
Jul 08, Cara Pulley rated it it was amazing. This book. This frickin book. I love it. I love that it challenges our perceptions. I don't know why human society believes that women are all programmed to want to birth and nurture the kids.
Perhaps people believe it out of convenience or wishful thinking. This book talks about mothers and babies of different species and about human mother roles historically. The other species portion is to illustrate that humans are not alone in doting over their babies and that babies are genetically programm This book.
That's why puppies and kittens are so darn cute. But alas nature is cruel and mothers will abandon children in order to save themselves and their stronger offspring. Humans are no exception.
Review: Mother Nature, by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.
Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species
She is considered "a highly recognized pioneer in modernizing our understanding of the evolutionary basis of female behavior in both nonhuman and human primates". Sarah Blaffer was born on July 11, , in Dallas , Texas. John's School there. At age 18, Blaffer attended her mother's alma mater , Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In one of her writing classes, she wrote a novel about Mayan culture. This decision led to Hrdy researching folklore of the Maya.
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
But is it? In this provocative, groundbreaking book, renowned anthropologist and mother Sarah Blaffer Hrdy shares a radical new vision of motherhood and its crucial role in human evolution. Hrdy strips away stereotypes and gender-biased myths to demonstrate that traditional views of maternal behavior are essentially wishful thinking codified as objective observation. As Hrdy argues, far from being "selfless," successful primate mothers have always combined nurturing with ambition, mother love with sexual love, ambivalence with devotion.